POETRY IN AGING
By Jo Strausz Rosen
Older adults sometimes find themselves feeling invisible, or irrelevant, or insecure. Some of us whisper to our mirrors that we get fewer approving glances when we walk down the street than we used to. Some of us are relieved. Some feel the pang of loss. Adjusting to new circumstances can be challenging. We find ourselves searching for a new sense of identity and purpose. Thinking of moving into retirement? It may feel strange. Think of all the time we spent in our careers, too busy or not interested in building relationships, finding community, and working on our inner lives. It takes time to learn to live with the uncertainty of our daily activities and a more open calendar. It may feel uncomfortable not to be able to explain what we do by naming our profession. We may conclude that the best of life is over. And these are painful thoughts. I’m not going there.
While invisibility confers the advantages of safety and anonymity, it can feel lonely. I have developed a practice of noticing older adults, on the streets, in lines at the movies or in the grocery stores. I note what is beautiful about them, in their eyes, in their clothing or in their dignity as they hold firmly to a walker or sit in a wheelchair. Sure, I sometimes think about what condition I will be in when I am as old as they are, but also, I feel love in my heart for them all. Each one, an individual, with a story to share and I find myself curious to learn them. I smile when I catch their eyes.
Come live with us. You’ll be the new kid on the block, and we will invite you to join us to take classes, walk arm and arm in the halls on our way to teatime and meals and participate in a variety of social activities and causes in which to get involved. Let’s discover or rediscover our deepest longings and passions. There is no shortage of opportunities to find joy. It’s never too late to create a bucket list. Even if it’s just for our children to find when we are no longer here. There is poetry in this.